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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, History | 11 November 1939 (USA)
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3:29 | Trailer
A depiction of the love/hate relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Norman Reilly Raine (screen play), Æneas MacKenzie (screen play) (as Aeneas MacKenzie) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Queen Elizabeth
Errol Flynn ... Earl of Essex
Olivia de Havilland ... Lady Penelope Gray
Donald Crisp ... Francis Bacon
Alan Hale ... Earl of Tyrone
Vincent Price ... Sir Walter Raleigh
Henry Stephenson ... Lord Burghley
Henry Daniell ... Sir Robert Cecil
James Stephenson ... Sir Thomas Egerton
Nanette Fabray ... Mistress Margaret Radcliffe (as Nanette Fabares)
Ralph Forbes ... Lord Knollys
Robert Warwick ... Lord Mountjoy
Leo G. Carroll ... Sir Edward Coke
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Storyline

This period drama frames the tumultuous affair between Queen Elizabeth I and the man who would be King of England, Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex. Ever the victor on the battlefield, Devereux returns to London after defeating Spanish forces at Cadiz. Middle-aged Elizabeth, so attracted to the younger Devereux but fearful of his influence and popularity, sends him on a new mission: a doomed campaign to Ireland. When he and his troops return in defeat, Devereux demands to share the throne with the heir-less queen, and Elizabeth, at first, intends to marry. Ultimately sensing the marriage would prove disastrous for England, Elizabeth sets in motion a merciless plan to protect her people and preserve her throne. Written by IMDb Editors

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Man of Iron- A Woman of Fire. (Print ad- Fort Dodge Messenger-Chronicle, ((Fort Dodge, Iowa)) 20 March 1940) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The relationship between Elizabeth and Essex bordered on the incestuous. His maternal great-grandmother Mary Boleyn was a sister of Anne Boleyn, mother of Queen Elizabeth I, making him a cousin of the Queen, and there were rumours that his grandmother, Catherine Carey, a close friend of Queen Elizabeth's, was Henry VIII's illegitimate daughter. Moreover, his mother was married to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the Queen's most beloved courtier and rumoredly her secret lover. See more »

Goofs

When the horseman rides up to the "Red Lion" inn, a gorgeous sunset is behind him; the shadow he casts is inconsistent with the placement of the sun, revealing this sunset to not have been in the original shot. See more »

Quotes

Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex: And now, may I go? This dying sticks in my mind and makes me poor company.
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Crazy Credits

The Warner Brothers shield is in the form of an English coat of arms. This logo was seen in Errol Flynn's previous film The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). See more »

Connections

Remade as Elizabeth the Queen (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (Come Live With Me and Be My Love)
(posthumous 1599) (uncredited)
:yrics by Christopher Marlowe
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Played on piano by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and sung by Nanette Fabray
See more »

User Reviews

 
Chemistry between distinct poles
24 July 2005 | by gabriela-12See all my reviews

I saw this movie when I was a child in Mexican black and white TV. Now it has been released in DVD in Spain by Divisa(2005) It is clear that true history is absent in most of the historic events related to the story. Essex was actually married to Penelope Rich (and not Gray, as in the movie), which meant nothing to his relationship to the queen. The meeting with Ireland's clan chief Tyrone was thought alright as treason, but when Essex entered London no one rouse with him. He passed a lot of time in his house, far from London, before the Queen made any decision on his final destiny... also Briton's uniforms in Ireland look Spanish...etc. The strange thing is that the story itself, as told by Curtiz, functions well. Davies is great ( a little bit overacting, but, who cares?), as the uncommon woman Elizabeth must have been. She did'not want Flynn to play the part: she asked for Laurence Olivier, but I sincerely think Flynn gave the necessary gaiety and spirits Essex would have had in reality, and Olivier would have spoiled that by his well known acting excesses, playing dark and severe where there should be light and superficial. Both, Davies and Flynn, seem profoundly in love and hate. Constanty driving in and out from and to love and politics. I would'not say this is a great movie, but it's worth while seeing it! (Excuse my English, I write better in Spanish)


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 November 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Essex and Elizabeth See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,075,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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